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The future of humanity is at risk. Now, more than ever. Years of our negligence, adamance and ignorance have brought us here. If we have any hope of saving this planet, saving ourselves, we must act now.
As of May 13th 2019, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was found to be 415ppm. This is the highest concentration level since the last 800,000 years. For decades and decades, we have rambled on about global warming, greenhouse gases, pollution and environmental friendliness. Yet somehow, we’ve wound up on the brink of extinction. And it is our own recklessness that has brought us here. For nearly a million years, the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have seamlessly maintained an average of 280ppm, never crossing 300 ppm or sinking below 160ppm. At 415ppm, there exists a sudden and significant increase in concentration levels, by more than 100ppm, thus highlighting- once again- the fact that humans are destroying the planet at an unprecedented rate.
This exponentially growing carbon dioxide level is in direct relation with other crucial environmental factors such as global temperatures and, oceanic acidification, which explains the loudness of the ringing alarm bells. The temperature over the Arctic Ocean was recorded at 84° Fahrenheit in the last week. This is 29° Celsius, which is almost equal to the temperature in Manipal at night! Up until now, global warming seemed to be a topic for intellectual conversation or an essay competition. This is our last chance to change. The last warning. The biggest red flag nature can wave. Environmentalists say that we have until 2035, at best. That is the point of no return. That is when we fall over the brink, into the abyss of oblivion. Unless we act now.
The problem with us, the majority of mankind, is that we cannot incorporate this environmental concern into our busy lives. We read a headline that says there’s too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or see a post that says a certain species is on the verge of extinction and we continue with our routines. And in doing so, take everything beautiful about nature for granted. We have completely forgotten the value of the trees that give us oxygen, the birds that sing in the skies and, the oceans that make this planet blue. The only forests we see now are those made of concrete, the only birds that sing are those in the background music of the songs in our playlists. The only oceans we know are those which have plastic debris, threatening the existence of marine life. No doubt, unprecedented population accounts for a large fraction of the problems that contribute to global warming- Deforestation, water contamination, air pollution and so on. However, this can no longer be used as an excuse to justify the way we’ve abused our only home.
What can we do to help? Everything we’ve been taught since childhood. Stop using plastic. Don’t waste water. Carpool wherever possible. Except this time, these aren’t sentences to quote on a speech or use in an essay. This time, they are actions that each one of us must perform to save mankind. Because quite frankly, we’ve run out of time. The little hope that is left is based on us coming together to save the only home we’ve ever known, through baby steps that just might save the world.